The Village Voice Isn’t Really Back

Brian Calle might have resurrected the brand, but not its soul.

Wed, 3 Aug 2022

I’m not too impressed with the new Village Voice, which started up in 2021. The old Village Voice (1955-2017) was an edgy alt-weekly that aimed for integrity, not respectability. The new version provides archives of the original, and reporting in a similar tradition. However, there’s something vile lurking underneath. You’ll see it if you access the site’s RSS feed.

There are only a dozen or so articles in the feed, none older than August 1st. That’s not necessarily unusual, but I always prefer a feed that provides all articles back to the beginning (ideally in full text, size be damned).

What I found strange is that most of articles in the feed are best described as “advertorial” or “sponsored content”. Articles by “Amir Bakian” is labeled as “partner content from Ascend” and bear titles like…

This is bad enough, and hardly the Village Voice that I would grab and read as a young man whenever I visited New York City. There are also these articles by somebody named “Alexa Domash”:

None of this is labeled as “sponsored content” but these are clearly advertisements for services many people would consider to be at least as shady as some of the classic Village Voice’s personal ads.

Here’s the really shady part, though: If you search the new Village Voice website for “Alexa Domash” you won’t find anything. Search instead for “Brand Partner Agency” and you’ll get 9 pages of results. Likewise, all of the articles attributed to “Alexa Domash” in the RSS feed are attributed to “Brand Partner Agency” on the website if you look them up by title.

What the hell is LA Weekly owner Brian Calle doing with the Village Voice, which he re-opened in 2021? I smell a rat.